Supply shortages challenge county’s replacement of long-distance courier van

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Whether it’s Rio Youers latest release, No second chanceor Donna McCaw’s first novel, Through the Great Divideor one of over 300,000 other loanable items from the Wellington County Library catalog, Byran Cousins ​​will arrange for the requested item to be delivered to a library branch near you.

Every day, Cousins, a county employee for seven years, loads the library’s aging courier truck before traveling to 14 library branches across the county’s seven municipalities.

If you spend the day driving on county roads, chances are you’ve even caught the van — with the slogan “The Most Powerful Card You’ve Ever Carried” — passing by.

Last year, Cousins ​​moved 317,637 items, according to chief librarian Rebecca Hine – more than the library’s entire catalog.

By mid-afternoon on June 23, Cousins ​​was dropping off a few bins of books requested by Palmerston readers from other branches.

Bryan Cousins ​​at the Wellington County Palmerston Library Branch. (Photo by Jordan Snobelen)

He turned the key and the numbers 283,429 lit up on the van’s odometer.

With mileage steadily increasing — 260 miles are added every day, according to Hine — it’s time for the county to consider replacing the 2018 pickup.

But a tender for the project – the supply of a commercial-class van chassis and Unicell bodywork – launched on March 3 and closed 21 days later on March 24, received no bids.

In an email to the advertiser, County Purchasing Manager Jackie Osti told two local dealerships “who typically bid on our vehicle deals” that they were asked why they didn’t care. .

“They indicated that orders for this type of chassis could not be placed due to serious global supply chain issues,” Osti said, adding that Unicell no longer manufactures the necessary body type.

County staff contacted Guelph-based Barry Cullen Chevrolet directly and “successfully negotiated the purchase” of a Chevrolet Express commercial coupe chassis, Osti said.

A delivery time for the chassis is 18 months.

The chassis will then be fitted with a bespoke aluminum enclosed body, fitted by Eloquip Ltd, based in Elora.

At a June meeting of the county library board, Hine said she expects the completed van to arrive by the end of 2023.

“We’re going to keep the van until then and I think we can make it last,” she remarked to intrigued advisers and board members.

The bespoke vehicle rings in at a tax-inclusive cost of $84,809 — $9,809 of the $75,000 budgeted for the minivan replacement.

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